On December 20, 2001, the Florida Legal Services Inc. Migrant Farmworker Justice Project filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of migrant farm workers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act at ...
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On December 20, 2001, the Florida Legal Services Inc. Migrant Farmworker Justice Project filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of migrant farm workers in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleging violations of Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act at Florida tomato and chili pepper packing houses. The workers alleged that they were not paid overtime wages, employee Social Security taxes were deducted from their wages were never paid to the government and that their hours worked were incorrectly calculated. Plaintiffs sought monetary damages and class certification.
This was a companion case to the lawsuit Carranza v. Mecca Farms, Inc. [IM-FL-22] which was filed on behalf of field workers who worked on the farm operations of Mecca Farms, Inc.
On November 25, 2002, the District Court (Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks) certified the case as a class action, over the objections of defendants. Two separate subclasses were created for the tomato and chili pepper packers. Martinez v. Mecca Farms, Inc., 213 F.R.D. 601, (S.D.Fla. 2002).
Shortly after class certification, the parties settled the case. The District Court (Judge Middlebrooks) entered its order approving the settlement on April 3, 2003, retaining jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement, but otherwise dismissing and closing the case. Under the terms of the Settlement Agreement, an unlimited joint settlement fund was created to settle claims in the Martinez case and in the companion case Luz-Carranza v. Mecca Farms, Inc., case no. 01-9013, filed on behalf of field workers. [IM-FL-22]. The defendants agreed to pay the Martinez class members $4.00 per day worked in the tomato packing houses and $3.00 per day worked in the pepper packing houses. Defendants also agreed to file appropriate W-2 forms with the government. Attorneys fees in the amount of $200,000.00 would be paid by defendants and a $25,000 contribution would also be made to a local farm workers assistance group. Luz-Carranza class members were to be paid $5.00 per day for field work.
.Dan Dalton - 11/12/2007